Manufactured skepticism towards academic knowledge and professional expertise allows spin, propaganda, and disinformation to disseminate widely, promoting a cacophony of ideological agendas. There is nothing new about this situation; since the mid-twentieth century, there have been warnings about “The Death of the Academy”; “The Disappearance of the Public Intellectual”; “The Decline of Professionalism”; and so forth. A tide of cynicism and surrender has enveloped public attitudes towards social media, civic institutions, and science, and many are dubious about sustaining a focus on truth. Blame has been placed on the relativism of the radical Left, the anti-objectivism of postmodernism, the dogmatism of conservatism, the degeneration of social media, the politicization of fake news, and the hyper-skepticism towards science. Where is truth still to be found? The further question comes to mind: did “the truth” ever really matter that much? Perhaps we need to adjust to life in our “post truth” world. Several disciplinary areas from the humanities are consulted in this course: history, culture criticism, literature, science studies, communication studies, media ethics, professional ethics, and political philosophy. This course will be writing intensive, requiring types of composition appropriate for a journalistic exposé, an opinionated blog, a policy brief, an analytical essay, and a research paper.
Note: This course fulfills the Humanities or Writing Core Area requirements. This course also fulfills a Humanities concentration elective.
Transhumanism is the belief that technology can allow us to improve, enhance and overcome the limits of our biology. More specifically, transhumanists believe that by merging man and machine via biotechnology, molecular nanotechnologies and artificial super intelligence, one day science will yield humans that have increased cognitive abilities, are physically stronger, emotionally more stable and have indefinite life-spans. This path, they say, will eventually lead to "posthuman" intelligent (augmented) beings far superior to man - a near embodiment of god
This course is intended to give students an overview of a number of hot topics at the intersection of technical, scientific, ethical and religious debates in our society. Specifically, by the end of this course, students should be able to understand the major facts about the accelerated development of scientific concepts and technologies:
This course offers a selective introduction to the study of philosophy through the critical examination of ethical issues arising within situations calling for responsible leadership. We will apply theoretical principles to selected case studies from professional life, carrying out careful analysis of problems concerning right and wrong surrounding finance, accounting, and investment, marketing and advertising, corporate governance, international human rights, data science, global business, distributive and social justice, environmental policy, and national and global democratic citizenship.
Note: This online course is required for the Business and Entrepreneurship concentration. This course also meets the Philosophy Core Area requirement.
This course will help students grasp fundamental scientific concepts developed over more than eight hundred years; these concepts are essential in the understanding of our contemporary world. The students will also have an opportunity to understand how and when the so-called “conflict between science and religion” originated and its evolution through the Galileo conflict until present. Through classroom lectures and discussions, reading assignments, student presentations and issues debates, we will address the complex evolution of arguments at every step of discoveries of scientific concepts about our world and Church’s interpretation of them and in the process we will review and gain appreciation of one of the most exciting intellectual endeavors ever.
This extraordinary display of substantive and original ideas which this debate generated for centuries continues today and allows us to enrich the understanding of our present universe from the smallest subatomic particle to the Big Bang expansion of the cosmos and challenges us to make our own judgment about the meaning of it all.
Note: This course meets the Natural Sciences core area requirement.
This course will provide a comprehensive introduction to business from a practical and “real-world” perspective, and explore the major areas of business to include product and service innovation and development; marketing and strategy; management and operations; and, finance. Importantly this course will explore the opportunities and challenges presenting by international business, technology, and the use of data and data analytics.
Note: This online course is required for the Business and Entrepreneurship concentration.
A signature piece of a Jesuit education is the study of Ethics. While all Core Courses explore human values and moral issues in particular historical contexts, in this course students (1) study and critique fundamental moral principles, categories, and terminology drawn from the Western philosophical and religious traditions; (2) examine basic approaches to and recurring debates about perplexing ethical issues; (3) explore through literature central moral quandaries and complexities of human life; and (4) elucidate what is normative in human experience and whence the norms are determined.
Note: A signature piece of a Jesuit education is the study of Ethics. While all Core Courses explore human values and moral issues in particular historical contexts, in this course students (1) study and critique fundamental moral principles, categories, and terminology drawn from the Western philosophical and religious traditions; (2) examine basic approaches to and recurring debates about perplexing ethical issues; (3) explore through literature central moral quandaries and complexities of human life; and (4) elucidate what is normative in human experience and whence the norms are determined.
This course will cover those activities for creating and communicating the message of an organization regarding the goods or services it wishes to offer to customers, clients or members, and will include the concepts of advertising and selling. The course will consider both theoretical and practical aspects of how businesses engage in marketing efforts. Required course for Entrepreneurship and Organizational Leadership concentrations.
Note: This online course meets the Business/Entrepreneurship Concentration Core and a Professional Media/Comm Concentration elective.
The relation between faith and reason is one of the perennial issues in Western thought. With the renaissance of the twelfth century and the founding of universities throughout Europe in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the question of faith and reason was dramatically recast. The rediscovery of Aristotle—and so, the use of Aristotelian logic, grammar, physics, and metaphysics—led to the development of new methods of inquiry, categories of thought, and modes of expression. This course begins with the twelfth-century renaissance; the cross-fertilization among Muslim, Jewish, and Christian scholars; the rise of the universities as important institutions; and the development of scholasticism. It focuses on the development of the scholastic method, resistance to it, and, in particular, discussions and sometimes fierce debates about faith and reason in Christianity and Judaism. The course also looks at the issue of authority and alternative approaches to faith and reason (e.g., mystical texts and vernacular theologies), the category of "heresy" and its ramifications (social, political, religious).
Note: This course meets either the BLHS 104 or BLHS 105 core requirement in the old curriculum. For students in the new curriculum, this four credit course meets either the Culture, Humanities or Philosophy Core Area requirement.
The course is designed for the student and working professional who is interested in starting or expanding a business. The emphasis is on the knowledge and skills needed to conceive or capture an entrepreneurial opportunity and then successfully launch a business that adds value to society. The course topics include the place of entrepreneurship in today’s global economic climate, new models for starting a business, recent research on how successful entrepreneurs manage entrepreneurial opportunities, innovative thinking and creation of a new business idea, product or service, identifying the major opportunity a particular business creates or problem it solves, putting names on the customers who will buy the product or service, crafting a profitable and sustainable business model, and finding that unique technology or approach that will excite investor interest.
Note: This course follows a rigorous, condensed 7.5 week schedule. This online course fulfills a Business and Entrepreneurship concentration requirement.
In this issues course we will discuss the topic of reparations, in dialogue with the specific case for trans-Atlantic slavery and the associated colonialism on the African continent. Reparations, and moral repair generally construed, are a kind of act that aims to respond to historical harms or injustices. They are a particularly interesting subject from the standpoint of ethical and political philosophy, in that they complicate, challenge, and (hopefully, ultimately) clarify central concepts
in these aspects of philosophy, including responsibility, harm, restitution, and welfare. Finally, they provide the occasion for engaging productively with other relevant disciplines, notably history, social science, and even natural sciences like geology and environmental sciences. Our aim at the level of contemporary moral issues will be to clarify for ourselves the debate around reparations for trans-Atlantic slavery. Our philosophical aim will be to clarify what political and moral relationships are at stake in issues like these, how they can be damaged and
what it takes to repair them. These aims, with any luck, will support each other.
For four thousand years, solutions for practical problems in communities (“polis”=cities) have prompted reflection (“theoria”) that accelerated after the pre-modern emergence of competing territorial central European “nation-states”. What is the history and future of political institutions for SCS students specially selected to be promising leaders in a national and global capital like DC, attending the world’s flagship Jesuit University which embodies social justice (among 500 globally and 27 nationally)? You encounter an evolving six trillion dollar worldwide war on terror, an emerging global pandemic of 8.5 million, 450k deaths, 118k in the USA, 270 million global migrants and mass mobilizations of protest in 2000 cities and towns in the USA and sixty nations, against racism, violence, police brutality and for justice and equity for peoples of color, especially “Black Lives Matter”. What common toolboxes of tools can help? This course covers key historical figures, political institutions and processes with main examples focusing on USA national and local government and examples from around the world. Students reflect on their actual or proposed professional experiences within the nation’s capital, nationally and globally. The course is designed to engage highly motivated and talented students who wish to move on to careers in the public or private sector, government consulting, electoral politics, lobbying, homeland security or further academic study. Weekly readings, videos, lectures, posts and class time cover the historic legacy of political philosophy, basic principles of the national government: structure, powers and operations of Congress; the presidency and the Supreme Court, the bureaucracy; citizenship, elections, public opinion, justice system, media studies, political parties, lobbying, civil rights movements and pressure groups—with their theoretical roots (Premoderns; Plato, Aristotle; Moderns; Hobbes, Rousseau, Locke, Hegel, Marx, Fascism; colonialism; Achebe, Baldwin; postcolonialism, Orientalism and representation; Fanon, Said; Postmodernity/consumerism; Jameson; gendering of citizenship in four feminist waves; critical race theory, Hooks; intersectionality-Crenshaw; LGBTQ, Black, Latinx, Chicanx, Asian, etc). Why does this matter? Today some 190 geographic, political entities called “states” and those sharing a cultural identity called “nations”, include some 87 democracies of different kinds for nearly half the world’s population, amidst global demands in industrializing and post-industrializing regions for “greater democracy” for all citizens “created equal,” whether or not they live in official democracies.
Note: This course fulfills an International Relations concentration requirement.
This course is an introduction to economic concepts and basic economic theory. It will introduce you to the terminology and methodology of the economist. The course is split between the study of microeconomics, which focuses on the decision making of individual consumers and firms, and macroeconomics, which focuses on aggregate level economic questions such as interest rates, government spending, among others. In this course, you will use economic tools to analyze and evaluate consumer behavior, producer behavior as well as government behavior. Government behavior includes creating public policies and addressing poverty and welfare questions.
Note: This online course is required for the Business and Entrepreneurship concentration.
What makes us human? How much of this is a part of our “nature” (e.g., biological hardware, chemistry, and physiological changes) and how much of it is due to how we are nurtured (our socialization, cultures, and social interactions)? This course explores some of the most central aspects of
the human condition and asks, “What makes us tick?” The class explores competing paradigms derived from a combination of studies and research from biology, medicine, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, archaeology, and historical observation. The structure of the course is inspired by the
concept of a “hierarchy of needs”—beginning with essential “lower order” aspects of the human condition moving up toward the problems and issues that are more often the focus of life once the essentials of life have been obtained. The course challenges the notion that 21st century human beings
are all that different from those that existed in 100, 1,000, or even 10,000 years ago. It also seeks to understand how human behavior can vary so much across cultures now. Reading material for the course also includes a combination of original source excerpts from the world’s religious and legal texts, and
philosophers and scientists such as John Locke, René Descartes, B.F. Skinner, John Watson, Sigmund Freud, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, Adam Smith, Sun Tzu, Niccolò Machiavelli, Edward O. Wilson. Lecture and the course readings are supplemented with suggested journal articles including current research as
well as multimedia excerpts on each week’s topics.
Note: This course meets the Culture and Social Sciences Core Area requirements and a Humanities Concentration Elective requirement.
This course must be taken as the student’s final course in the Core in that it draws on all the Core Courses. This is a course on late twentieth- and early twenty-first century America. Its time frame roughly corresponds to the life spans of most BALS students. Its purpose is to help apply the critical approaches they have learned elsewhere to the world in which they live.
Note: This class is held online with both individual and all-class weekly meeting sessions.
This course begins with Romanticism—its critique of the Enlightenment, its insistence that there is more to being human than reason, and its new way of envisioning the relationship between the individual and nature as well as between the individual and society. Romanticism began in Germany at the very end of the 18th century, was brought to England via Coleridge and Wordsworth, and crossed the Atlantic to America.
Note: This course is required for students in the old curriculum but is also open to students in the new curriculum. This four credit course meets the Humanities Core Area requirement in the new curriculum.